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Carl Arthur Scheunert (1879-1957) was a German scientist who supervised several studies with prisoners that were designed to assess the optimal vitamin and nutrient supply, and were conducted by his associate Karl-Heinz Wagner (1911-2007) from 1938 to 1943. This contribution describes the aims, results and conclusions of Scheunert's research 1923 to 1945 in comparison with the national and international vitamin research and its consequences for public health measures. Conditions and results of the human experiments are reconstructed and compared with similar studies performed in other countries. Burden as well as health risks for the study participants are assessed. In addition, it is discussed whether general rules for human experimentation were followed (e.g. informed consent and minimizing of health risks). Although the available documents support the conclusion that no deaths or lasting injuries were caused, the experiments violated ethical standards, in particular because of the conditions in the Waldheim prison including progressive deterioration of nutrition and health. © Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart.

Steinbrenner H.,Friedrich - Schiller University of Jena | Brigelius-Flohe R.,Deutsches Institute For Ernahrungsforschung Potsdam Rehbrucke
Aktuelle Ernahrungsmedizin | Year: 2015

Selenium is an essential trace element and micronutrient for humans that exerts most of its biological actions through selenoproteins, which have the rare amino acid selenocysteine in their active centre. Several selenoproteins such as glutathione peroxidases (GPx) and thioredoxin reductases (TrxR) have antioxidant and redox-active functions. Assumed (and in part controversially discussed) beneficial effects of selenium on human health include the prevention of some types of cancer, slower progression of autoimmune thyroid diseases, adjuvant therapy of viral infections and support of immune, reproductive and cognitive functions. In the diet, selenium is mainly present in form of the amino acids selenomethionine and selenocysteine, while dietary supplements may also contain higher amounts of inorganic selenium compounds such as sodium selenite and selenate. Recently, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has set the dietary reference value for adequate selenium intake of adults to 70μg/day, as did the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) with 60μg/day for women and 70μg/day for men. These values are based on the requirements to saturate blood levels of the selenium transport protein selenoprotein P (SePP1). Many Europeans - including Germans - ingest less selenium; however, selenium deficiency is not a general problem. On the other hand, selenium supplementation beyond the doses required for SePP1 optimisation may not provide additional health benefits and, according to some studies, may even provoke adverse side effects. Therefore, dietary selenium supplementation is not recommended for healthy people in general. Persons who wish to take selenium-containing dietary supplements should have measured their plasma/serum selenium or SePP1 levels first. Selenium supplementation might be useful for persons with low selenium status and/or increased needs of selenium. © 2015 Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart.

Schulze M.B.,Deutsches Institute For Ernahrungsforschung Potsdam Rehbrucke
Diabetologe | Year: 2012

Dyslipidemia in diabetes is characterized by low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, high triglyceride levels and higher concentrations of atherogenic lipoprotein molecules. Various interventions are of importance in the nutritional therapy of dyslipidemia. An increased intake of unsaturated fatty acids from vegetable oils at the expense of saturated fatty acids lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Trans-fatty acids (food sources: fat spreads and foods with partially hydrogenated fat, fried foods, fat-rich baked goods and sweets) cause an even more etrimental lipoprotein profile compared to saturated fatty acids and their intake should be limited. Significant reductions of LDL cholesterol are also achievable by fiber-rich foods and foods enriched with plant sterols and stanols. A reduction of body weight, an increase in physical activity and a limitation of alcohol consumption to moderate amounts are effective interventions to control triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels. Triglycerides can also be reduced by supplementation with long-chain ?3 fatty acids (fish oil). Higher proportions of dietary carbohydrates cause higher triglyceride levels, therefore, moderation of carbohydrates in favor of unsaturated fatty acids can be an effective dietary strategy and the major focus is to limit the consumption of foods and beverages with added saccharose or fructose. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012.

Experimental research identifies mechanisms, susceptibility genes and biomarkers for nutrition-associated diseases, thereby contributing to the validation and improvement of prevention and intervention strategies. At present, the personalization of nutritional recommendations is not possible with genetic marker but can be guided by conventional risk factors and biomarkers. However, genetic markers allow the inference of causality of associations between biomarkers and disease endpoints by Mendelian randomization. In the future, genetic markers may also help to establish causality of associations between nutrients and disease endpoints. In addition, elucidation of the genetic basis of nutrition-associated diseases can provide biological plausibility of preventive and therapeutic strategies. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG.Stuttgart · New York.

Blaut M.,Deutsches Institute For Ernahrungsforschung Potsdam Rehbrucke
Aktuelle Ernahrungsmedizin | Year: 2015

The intestinal tract is home to a complex microbial community (microbiota), which is characterized by large inter-individual differences. One of the main components of dietary fiber are indigestible polysaccharides, which in dependence of their physicochemical properties affect gut physiology either directly or by way of the intestinal microbiota. Indigestible carbohydrates are the main substrates of intestinal bacteria, which convert them mainly to short-chain fatty acids as well as hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. Short-chain fatty acids not only provide energy to the host but also possess regulatory functions. They influence the lipid metabolism in the liver and the excretion of hormones, which affect gastrointestinal passage, insulin sensitivity and satiety. Overall the role of short-chain fatty acids in the development of obesity and diabetes is not completely understood. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG tuttgart New York.

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